EAT! Food Festival - Priory Park Credit - Sean McKee

EAT! Food Festival Returns

EAT! Food Fest returns around the beautiful sunken gardens of the Grade I listed Reigate Priory on Saturday 23rd July 2016

Last year thousands brought the family, brought their granny, brought the kids and even brought the blanket to sit on and while away the day, eating drinking and enjoying everything that was on offer.

The Street Food court was amazing, they chomped through hundreds and hundreds of portions. We really did have the best producers around. They crammed into the demo tent, quaffed a lot of beer, bubbles & gin, played a spot of Croquet and listened to music in the late afternoon sunshine.

And we’re about to do it all over again.

Not only do we have the most incredible street food traders offering mouth-watering dishes from around the world, the highest quality producers but loads of demonstrations to get the best tips and tricks from fantastic chefs.

The FREE event starts at 11.00am and finishes at 6.00pm. Looking majestic around the sunken and formal gardens in front of the historic Reigate Priory, there will be on offer:

Street Food: Street Food court with traders who will be tempting everyone with their delicious world food from Taiwanese, Columbian, Galician seafood to Crepes, Indian wraps and churros.

Producers: Fifty high end producers to keep your store cupboards stocked up with sauces, oils, exquisite wines, precision knives, flavoured shortbread, bread, cheeses and more.

Drinks: Keeping everyone refreshed with award winning Silent Pool Gin, bubbles popping with The Vineking and quenching your thirst with real ale from Reigate’s own Pilgrim Brewery and a selection of craft beers and cider by Market Stores.

BBQ Masterclass: BBQ Chef Richard Holden will be demonstrating throughout the day offering top tips and tricks for barbecuing, smoking, marinades and rubs.

Pizza School: Award winning The Tinderbox will be giving away some of their secrets into what it takes to make the best pizza around. Get floury and hands on. Make it, cook it, eat it. Book online.

Demonstrations: We’re expecting the demo tent to be packed to the rafters to see Master Butcher Rob Hewitt of Robert and Edwards Butchers, Chef Tony Tobin from The Dining Room, Chef Max McKenzie of Salted Events, cake specialist Emma Fuller of Velvet Fig and Chef Hari Ghotra who will soon be heading up a new arm of Michelin starred Tamarind of Mayfair in Soho, Tamarind Kitchen.

Outdoor Games: Giant games and free croquet lessons courtesy of Jaques of London on the beautiful manicured croquet lawns next to Reigate Priory

Music: Keeping everyone entertained will be the Guildford Bucket Drummers and the ambient sounds of Hustler.

To keep up to date and find out who is exhibiting visit

Thanks to sponsors and supporters Surrey Life Magazine, Borahurst Ltd and Jacques of London and special thanks to Reigate & Banstead BC Parks for all their help and assistance.


Redcurrant Relish

Quick & Easy Redcurrant Relish

Having had our first harvest of currants, black, red and white and lamb for dinner, there was only one thing to do…make a redcurrant condiment to go with it.

Here is a REALLY QUICK and easy redcurrant relish. Sharp, sweet & fruity, perfect match to cut through the sweet lamb.

You will need:

  • 55g/2oz redcurrants
  • 15g/½oz butter
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar

For the redcurrant relish:

Place all the redcurrant relish ingredients into a small saucepan and gently heat until the redcurrants start to break down and the sauce is bubbling. Take off the heat and allow to cool.



Bins, Beds & Burning

Most of January passed us by what with bad weather and one of us either being ill, it was time to see what the allotment was looking like. It was a bit of a soggy affair and had planned to burn a fair bit of the pile of debris we had been left with, so it was rather a challenge. Still we managed to deplete the pile a bit. A lot of moving stuff from one end to the other but slowly and surely we’re getting there.







A bit of good news, the potential asparagus snaffler aka, Eddie our allotment manager, disappointedly told us that the asparagus was too established to move. This induced an inner ‘yay’ dreaming of seductive asparagus for us doused in butter or Hollandaise!







So we chopped down the asparagus with a hope that we’ll get a nice little harvest this year.

No allotment is worth it’s salt without a compost bin, so we duly ordered one. It arrived. It was a biggy! So instead of driving it round we decided to walk it down to the allotment. It gave The Baron the opportunity to practice his camouflage, not sure that this will enable him to spy on Clem (Fandango) on our next door plot for tips and tricks! His is looking grand, ours still looks like a dumping ground.

Allotment camouflage

allotment camouflage

allotment camouflage




We’re so very lucky that the soil we have is beautiful and easy to turn over. The Baron sneaked down to dig over our first bed…yes, we actually have a clear space that we can start to think about planting things in. We also treated ourselves to some herbs so at least there is something growing down there.

We do actually have a lot of established fruit bushes in the cage but we’re unsure what they are. There is an inkling that they are a variety of blackcurrants.

allotment first bed

allotment first bed





Now for the rest of the mahoosive plot! Another clearing session and we really do feel that we’re starting to get somewhere. I think that Harold Steptoe must have had our plot, there’s so many random bits of metal, reckon we could make a penny or two out of it!

We discovered a few happy potatoes under a pile of glass and rubbish, burnt some more stuff, moved all the panes of glass, hose and other random items to the other end of the plot ready to dig the next couple of beds.

allotment potatoes






All seems like a mammoth task but we are starting to see a wee chink of light at the end of the tunnel. Next step planning our beds and what we’re going to plant…exciting!






The BEST Chicken Wings

The BEST Chicken Wings

” This is the world’s longest recipe for chicken wings. Sorry. But they’re very, very good chicken wings.”

This recipe for these chicken wings comes from the fantastic book Momofuku and saying that they are very, very good is an understatement. The wings are brined, smoked, confited and fried! It may seem like a long process but rest assured they make for excellent wings (ingredients list is at the bottom of the page) and much of the preparation can be done days beforehand so you can throw this together in no time when you want to eat them. You can of course follow the recipe in the book, but I hope that by adding images in this post it may help the process.

First, take the wing tips off (you will be using these to make the beautiful umami rich tare sauce that dresses the wings), then cut the wings apart at the elbow joint. Pop them in a container and make up the brine by adding the hot tap water, sugar and salt. When dissolved pour over, cover, seal and refrigerate for at 1 hour (no more than 6).

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Take the chicken out of the fridge strain and discard the brine. Now you cold smoke the wings. Follow your smokers guidelines on how long to smoke for. I smoked mine for 40 mins on a medium heat. If you have a stove top smoker, great, if not, you can google how to make a stove top smoker at home. If that all seems like a bit of a faff you can omit the smoking and add 2 rashers of smokey bacon when packing the wings ready to be confited.

Heat the oven to 180F/80C. Pack the wings tightly into a dish. Warm the pork fat in a pan. I used goose fat that was saved from a Christmas goose and had been stored in the fridge, worked perfectly OK or you can use oil. Pour over the wings and pop in the oven for 30mins. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature and then pop in the fridge. This step can be done days in advance.

chicken wings 20151230_191637 20151230_200227




Now to make the tare. Fry the wingtips in a wide saute pan until you have a really good colour. Add the mirin, sake and soy sauce, making sure you scrape all the naughty meaty bits stuck to the pan. Bring the liquid to the boil and then simmer for around 40 mins until it takes on a slightly syrupy texture and it silky shiny. Discard the wing tips, pop into a container and store until use.

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When you’re ready to cook and serve the wings, getting exciting now and ever closer to tasting these delicious wings, heat the chicken confit in it’s pot, in a low oven (around 90-100C) until the fat liquefies. Remove the wings from the fat onto kitchen towel. Heat a cast iron skillet pan or a frying pan until the pan is hand hot from a few inches away. Add the wings in batches and brown them, 3-4mins on each side. Try and weigh them down as you do this. I used a saucepan with my pestle and mortar inside it, did the trick. While they are browning make the sauce by heating a couple of tablespoons of the confit fat in a pan, after a minute add the garlic and cook until softened. Add half of your tare (keep the rest for another use), turn the heat up and simmer for 8-10 mins.

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When the wings are nicely browned on both sides add them to the tare sauce along with the pickled chilies if using. Turn out into a serving bowl and garnish with spring onion. Strain and save the fat in a covered container in the fridge, it will keep forever, only gets better and better.

The BEST Chicken Wings

Take the wings to the table and watch them be devoured. I hope you enjoy them as much as we did.

Chicken wings

Ingredients – Serves 4-8

  • 20 chicken wings with wing tips attached
  • 2 ltrs of lukewarm water
  • 225 g sugar
  • 225 g salt
  • 2 rashers of streaky bacon if not cold smoking
  • 1.8 ltrs of pork/duck fat or oil
  • 225 ml mirin
  • 225 ml sake
  • 225 ml light soy sauce
  • 6 cloves of garlic – thinly sliced
  • 5-6 pickle chilies if using
  • 1 bunch of spring onions – thinly sliced (greens & whites)
Hot Dog beets

Addictive Pickled Beets

I have pinched this pickling recipe from the wonderful David Chang and it couldn’t be more simple. Can’t wait until I can pickle our own beetroot from the allotment.

This is a vinegar pickle which gives a beautiful and perfect sweet/sour pickle. This is very quick and easy and you can eat the pickles immediately but taste better after they have had time to sit – 3 to 4 days.

Fills a 1 litre jar:

  • Approx. 2lbs of beetroot, preferably smaller if possible, if not half them and slice them very thinly, if you have a mandolin it will make the task easy peasy.
  • 250ml of piping hot water from the tap
  • 125ml of rice wine vinegar (you can buy big bottles of this from Asian supermarkets or somewhere like Wing Yip – much cheaper than from a bog standard supermarket)
  • 6 tbsp sugar
  • 2 1/4 tsp salt
  1. Combine the water, vinegar, sugar and salt in a jug and stir until the sugar dissolves
  2. Pack the prepared beetroot in a jar or container, pour the brine over and refrigerate.

That’s it! Done! Finito! How easy is that?

Pickle beets

Remember that these are not like the soft vinegary beetroot you buy in the supermarket, these pickles have a fabulous crunch to them and as you will find out, they are VERY addictive.

I can eat plates of these just on their own but they are a perfect accompaniment to this smoked salmon & linguine dish. Recipe to follow soon.

Smoked Salmon Linguine



Picanha with sriracha butter

Smoked Sriracha Butter

On a recent busman’s holiday to Meatopia (work ‘research’ can be great!), The Baron and I had the most delicious picanha steak and smoked sriracha butter from chef David Rushford. Picanha is a cut of beef popular in Brazil. Not only was the steak meltingly good, the butter was smokey, salty with a little pow of heat. Incredibly addictive and we wanted more meat to mop up the buttery juices. Naturally we wanted to make the butter ourselves.

So where did we start? Despite the fact that sriracha has an element of smokiness we decided to used smoked garlic confit rather than plain garlic to create an added smokiness. Take a whole smoked garlic bulb, take all the cloves off and take off the paper skins. Place the cloves in a pan covering them with light virgin olive oil. You want to warm the oil until there are just a few bubbles appearing. Do not let it boil or let the cloves brown. Keep it on the lowest heat possible for about 1 hr.

Smoked garlic in olive oil

After an hour, let the oil cool off. Whilst waiting for it to cool beat about 125g of slightly salted butter with a fork. When the oil has cooled pour the oil through a sieve to catch the garlic cloves. Store the smokey oil for use in dressings and cooking. Pop the cloves on a piece of kitchen towel. Then take each clove and it should just pop out of it’s casing. If you can resist eating it, put it in a bowl. Squish with a fork and add to the butter, blend together. Then add the sriracha depending on your preference for heat. It can take surprisingly more than you would think.

Pop the clovesBeaten butter & garlic







If you LOVE all things meaty and cooked over charcoal or wood then Meatopia is a paradise day or weekend out.

Meatopia UK 2016 – 4th-6th September – Tobacco Dock, 50 Porters Walk, London. E1W 2SF



Allotment Planning

Park Lane Acquisition aka Our Allotment

We applied for an allotment in November expecting to wait yonks for one but lo and behold we were allocated one on 4th December 2015. I will be posting pics from our challenge to get this allotment up and running and actually harvesting fruit, veg and flowers for us to eat, pick and pickle.

Choosing the plot

Choosing our plot – 33a. There are established fruit trees and bushes in the Heath Robinson cage, no idea what they all are yet. Will have to wait and see. Our neighbour is Clem (Fandango) who is a bit of an allotment ace by all accounts!

Eddie the site manager

Site manager Eddie, quite a character and he had his eyes on the asparagus plants, asked if he could snaffle them. We feel that this may well be a good first bribe…he seems to like us, for now!

Allotment planning starts and thanks to Number one son for our Christmas present, an allotment book…spot on!

Clearance of dump

This lot needed removing.

Getting stuck in

The Baron getting stuck in.

Globe artichokes

Globe artichokes found underneath a pile of rubbish. Bonus!

Nearly gone

Nearly all gone, not a bad couple of hours work. This area will be our first beds in next to no time.
That’s all folks, until the next exciting installment!

Bowls of Soul Rolling into Town?

Wagamama, the international Japanese canteen, has made planning applications on the site of the Edward Dean kitchen & bathroom showroom.

Will the chain “inspired by fast-paced, japanese ramen bars and a celebration of asian food…set out to create a unique way of eating. bringing the fresh, nourishing, flavours of asia to all”, be a good fit for Reigate?

Earlier in the year Reigate greeted Bill’s to Bell Street. There were murmurs that maybe it was one large restaurant too many and could it sustain itself in such a small market town? This appears to be unfounded and Bill’s seems to be a very happy new incumbent on the restaurant scene in Reigate. Will another venue though, with a proposal of 142 covers, be too much or will it’s addition bring more people into the centre of Reigate?

So, what will Wagamama bring to the town should their applications be successful? The restaurant appears to have a number of local fans judging by the excitement it generated each time it was mooted it ‘may’ be coming to town. For those ramen and katsu lovers, their dream appears to be coming true. Such a restaurant with it’s canteen style is also very popular with young adults, places of which for them to frequent is pretty limited in Reigate.

There is already an establishment in town with Japanese and Korean favourites on the menu. I am not sure how popular Miso is with local foodie and restaurant goers but being only a year old this weekend, they may feel this proposed new opening a little. Though by the looks of their new twitter account @MISObar_Lounge, they seem to have morphed into a bar & lounge “Dance floor is available between 10pm to 12am at Miso Restaurant

Being pretty much adjacent to the Everyman cinema must have been a bit of a draw for Wagamama given the opportunity to tempt people for a quick bite before luxuriating in the comfy sofas with a glass of wine or a beer.

You’ve got to admit it Reigate’s position on the cool-o-meter is slowly climbing. People from outside of town come and visit due to Reigate’s unique independent shops, cool events and great restaurants. Granted I would rather have seen an independent showing an interest in such a prime spot, however, we should support those who come in and invest in the town.

Should you wish to support or object to the change of use application and look at the full plans, you can view them and comment here

Proposed Bell Street Frontage